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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Dunbar Village and Where Does Our Commitment Begin and End?

By: Symphony, WAOD Contributor

Dunbar Village
As we know Jakaris Taylor, who early on felt they had nothing on him, agreed to a 20-year sentence pleading guilty to burglary and two counts of armed sexual battery while wearing a mask. His 35-year-old victim was consulted and "was satisfied with the terms of the deal before it was signed."I highly expect Avion Lawson (HAWK) to speak as well but it may not be necesary considering Taylor has already struck a deal. So why did he get a deal in the first place?

Belohlavek said prosecutors considered Taylor's age of 15 at the time of attack,
the lack of DNA evidence against him and his relatively limited role in the
assault. His fingerprint was found inside the victim's apartment, while DNA
linked other defendants to the home, Belohlavek said.

All the defendants have been offered deals with different prison terms. The next to last paragraph of the article was the most telling for me.

Taylor's mother could not be reached to talk about her son's fate because she is
in the Palm Beach County Jail. Jacqueline Minor, 34, has been incarcerated since
Nov. 15 in lieu of $6,000 bail on charges of vehicle theft and driving on a
suspended license.

I mean really. This is where I will unjustly (apparently) blame women and poor people. We spend a lot of time talking about kids (especially male children) not having a father in the home but truth be told, a lot of kids don't have a mother either.

There is more to being a parent than putting food on the table and a roof over a kid's head. Instilling values is something many people forget, don't have time for, don't realize (add your endless but futile reasons here). And its not just poor parents, its a lot of parents regardless of socioeconomic situations.

I will never poo-poo the absence of a father; I know it takes a man to teach a boy to be a man. But does it take a man to teach a child how to be respectful, kind, and proud? I am a single mother and I work to instill those basic human (not male) qualities in my son everyday.

Many times I have to check myself when I admonish people for not doing better because I'm one of those people who "shouldn't be where they are" and I'm quick to say "if I could do it then so can anyone else" and "stop allowing yourself to be victimized particularly when you're a grown behind woman".

Why do I think people can better themselves? Because I was the product of a single mother (see the cycle), I was a latchkey kid at SIX YEARS OLD, I wasn't raised in the church, my mother couldn't tell you my grades let alone what classes I was taking in high school, I didn't grow up with my father, he was in and out of my life like clockwork (6, 12, and haven't seen him since 18), no one in my family graduated from college, it goes on and on.

But I took responsibility for my education when I was a little kid and I took responsibility for my life as a self-respecting woman and successful person somewhere around 21. After high school I served in the military, I will graduate with honors in May with a degree in International Relations, I'm applying to law schools and as far as I'm concerned the sky is the limit.

But I dont just expect people to better their lives just because I don't want them using my tax dollars blah, blah, blah. I believe it because I believe in peopole and truly think they can. I expect them to succeed because I WANT them to succeed. We can't sit around on the sidelines waiting for livable wages, the end of racism, sexism, and discrimination, etc. before we jump in the fight. You have to strive in spite of.

And yes, some of you hate hearing it (*shrugs* but so) but some people do have a defeatist attitude. You can't help someone who isn't willing to help themselves. And if you give them all the support, resources, and information in the world and they still don't take the first step is it still everyone else's fault?

Jakaris Taylor (apparent daddy to be) may be out of jail "likely in his early to mid-30s" and we wonder what that means. Its punishment but it won't be rehabilitation. Is it right to say he's a lost cause at 16?

So here we are. The subsidizing of those given up on begins. Unfortunately its on the wrong end. People say, "Why should my tax dollars pay for after school programs and other programs for other people's kids?" (Enlighten me. Are there no programs that receive some type of tax dollars either federally, state, or locally that benefits middle class and more wealthy children? Story for another day.)

You're going to pay for their parent's sin of not caring about them one way or the other. We can pay for it on the front end when they are young and more open to change (which can end generational poverty and social ills) or we can pay for them on the back end (after commiting our own sin of ignoring the weakest most helpless in our society--children--regardless of whether they are ours by birth) when they are in jail. And then we will pay for the kids they brought into this world and so on. So, you're going to pay. Its just when and how do you want to do it.

I just talked to Shane, Shecodes and Citoya this week. The planning for the Dunbar Village Townhall meeting, if you will, is going quite nicely. If anyone is interested in taking a trip to West Palm Beach and doing some hands-on activism in mid-January Dunbar Village 2008 will have all the up-to-date information on the itinerary.You can also contact me (not through the comments section) at symphonyep[at]gmail[dot]com

So let me ask this. Gina is a self-described town crier. Now, if you aren't a blogger (or spread the word whatever your medium) who are letting the masses know about the problems and you aren't doing anything in the community are you part of the problem? Or do you believe the best way for society to be great is for you to concentrate on making something of yourself and being successful?